Well that was cool… LOST Polar Bear Dip… and 100 x 100!!!

The 7th Annual "LOST Polar Bear Dip"... get ready...
The 7th Annual “LOST Polar Bear Dip”… get ready…

Pardon the pun, but that was a “cool” way to start the New Year!

On January 1, 2017 we held the 7th annual LOST Polar Bear Dip at our usual swimmin’ hole, LOST Beach in Oakville.

And like like all things LOST these days, it just keeps growing.  This was our biggest year ever, with 54 dippers and probably more than double that watching!

So at exactly 12:00 noon on Jan 1 we cured a lot of people’s hangovers… including mine.   We were at the King’s Arms for New Year’s Eve!  A buddy of mine and his band, “Taint Pretty” had rented the upstairs for a bit of fun.  Let’s just say I got my money’s worth.




Anyway, the PBD is pretty low tech.  The crowd counts us down… we run in… we get the hell out… dry off… and go to the coffee shop and talk about our 30 second excursion for the next couple hours!

Phew... made it! (some guys are just always stylish!)
Phew… made it! (some guys are just always stylish!)

Funny thing, I got a call from CBC about Ice Swimming and the Polar Bear Dip a couple of days earlier.  And they came out and did a little story about the 7 LOSTies that went for a little swim a couple of days before the PBD.  Then I realised I must now be in some data base as some type of aficionado on Ice Swimming/Polar Bear Dips, because the next day I got another call from CBC radio about it too.  I felt like a bit of a fraud because although I have done my share of cold water swimming, I had no intention of going in for a swim.  A dip, yes, but not a swim.  So I passed them both on to Loren.  At least he could add some authenticity by going in and demonstrating for them! haha.  Then I got a call from CFRB 1010 News Talk Radio to talk about the same thing… only it was live!  Yikes.  Then I got another call the next day for a different show but still at CFRB, on the same topic!

The reason I bring this up, other than to let you know that my 15 minutes of fame is being eaten up in multiple 30 second sound bites, is that I noticed a common theme.

Sometimes they asked about Ice Swimming or the Polar Bear Dip… but regardless of what the specific topic was, there always seemed to be a common thread and common question: Why?  Which, of course is a pretty legitimate question.

So I had to come up with some type of coherent and snappy little answer for live radio as to why someone would do something so uncomfortable/stupid/crazy/fun… here’s basically what I said:

“There is no really good answer.  I don’t really buy the supposed health benefits.  Although there may be some, I don’t think any one of us does it to give us a better complexion.  And there is obviously some health risks to cold water swimming too.  But from more of a philosophical point of view, I’d say because in the modern structured environment we live in, it is still nice to be a bit of a rebel… and colour outside of the lines sometimes.  As we all get a bit older, it is still fun once in a while to show that we can still be a bit of the “young and crazy” people we used to be… and maybe continue to be.”

If there is a take-away from this event… that’s probably it.  Colouring outside of the lines once in a while is a good thing.  Life is a participation sport.

Then we had coffee.  Thanks Brett for opening the shop up for the “young and crazy” bunch of LOSTies!

Then we went to bed… woke up the next day… and swam 10 km!

The 100 x 100s on 100 Crew! Jan 2, 2017!
The 100 x 100s on 100 Crew! Jan 2, 2017!

On January 2 at 9:30 am, a group of about 38 of us (many of the same crowd!) made the trek out to the new Pan Am Pool in Scarborough… and swam 100 x 100 on 100!

For the uninitiated that is: 100 meters, 100 times, on 100 seconds (1:40) pace time.  Which equals 10k, in 2:47 minutes.

But like all things LOST, we like to be inclusive.  That was the headline goal, but lots of people modified it, either by adjusting the pace time (there were lanes for 1:40, 1:50, 2:00, 2:10, etc), or the number of 100’s (lots of people did different numbers, 50, 65 & 80 were common jumping off points!).  And on the inclusive note, although this is a LOST initiative, we’ve made it open to anybody, which was kind of cool… a ton of Etobicoke Masters Swimmers (22 of us!)… swimmers from the Beaches (Mitsy, Sarah)… Burlington Masters (Lynn)… North Toronto Masters (Chris, Bill)… and a few that just wanted to come out for a swim (Jill, Stuart, Al’s mom & daughter & friend, Bud’s son Eric, Michael, Martin)… 38 in all… and our biggest crowd!  And up a lot from our first year of 7!

So the long and short of it is that we all got a huge workout, had a lot of fun doing it, met a few new people… and all had a nap in the afternoon.

PS. be thankful I only wore the GoPro for the Polar Bear Dip… not the 100 x 100’s! haha.



  1. Ahhh, so now I know who I was sharing the lane with on Jan 2 at the Pan Am training pool 🙂 I was wondering why it was suddenly so busy with lots of fast swimmers doing tempo swims! You all looked really good!

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